More on Moore: Why It’s Not Wrong to View the Allegations As Credible

As many know, the very controversial Senate race in Alabama is over with the Democrats winning a big victory in an overwhelmingly conservative state.  The big reason for this victory, other than the fact that Roy Moore was already pretty unpopular to begin with, was the sexual assault allegations on Moore and the accusations that he went after under-aged girls when he was a young man.  Many viewed these accusations as credible, including a lot of conservative Alabamans, which is why there were over 22,000 write-in votes (many of which cheekily voted for Nick Saban).  Moore denied these allegations (though he seemed to change his story a couple of times), and his defenders complained that to punish Moore for them was to invert the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”  Moore was not convicted of anything and likely never will be, so why give an ounce of credibility to the accusations?

I think this line of thinking is mistaken and forgets to evaluate Moore’s situation carefully.  Now, I’m the first person to tell people not to overreact to headlines, and I generally think it is deplorable that people jump to conclusions regarding people’s guilt.  We’ve seen how doing so can destroy the lives of people who are actually innocent, such as Officer Wilson in the Michael Brown case and the Duke lacrosse players.  Still, there is a difference between having enough evidence for a criminal conviction (which should meet a very, very high standard) and enough evidence for rational people to smell that something stinks.  The evidence against Moore doesn’t meet the former right now, but I think there is enough to justify people’s reluctance about him and for him to face some consequences, such as losing an election (which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t exactly some hefty punishment).

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Political Expediency vs. Principle

‘Tis the season for sexual assault/harassment allegations, apparently, as several prominent celebrities have gotten hit with them and eventually saw their careers bite the dust.  First there was Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and then others in entertainment and media followed such as Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and Matt Lauer.  Politicians were not immune, so figures such as Roy Moore (R), Al Franken (D), Trent Franks (D), Blake Farenthold (R), and John Conyers (D) were accused of sexual assault and/or harassment.

On the one hand, it is undoubtedly good that women are willing to speak out against misconduct and that some of these figures, who had gotten away with this behavior for years if not decades, finally saw some consequences for their actions.  On the other hand, all of this has given us more evidence of how fractured America is along party lines.  Both parties are trying to claim the moral high ground, not because they seem to really care about morals (if they did, they would police themselves a lot better) but because it is politically advantageous to do so while painting the other side as monsters.  Consider how some of this played out regarding Roy Moore:

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